click or scroll to view project

NGV Summer Pavilion

A helium filled structure lighter than the air it displaces, tethered with weighted tension cables, resting on the courtyard surface. An articulated field of spherical reflection, an ever-changing volume of shadow perforated by sunlight.

  • Client Brief

    The NGV Summer Pavilion presents an enticing opportunity to explore architectural ideas in a temporary, reduced way free from the many rigors of a building.
    What then drives the architecture? How does this pavilion distinguish itself from similar projects, both overseas and across the road?

    Design Response

    Our founding idea was to create a cloud like floating structure, touching the ground in the lightest possible way. Inspired by the indigenous ‘cloud spirit’, floating overhead it provides an ever changing shadow volume, perforated by sunlight. Like a cloud at close range the surface is experienced as a richly articulated field of spherical volume and reflection. The image of a wedge tailed eagle taking flight is compressed into an abstracted plan figure, an image within the cloud, hovering over the open garden space, eyes and beak coming face to face with Rodin’s Balzac in a meeting of nobles: The statue characterised as the spiritual custodian of the NGV (and its cultural lineage of European art), the wedge tailed eagle a noble creature of this land, carrying its identity as Bunjil, the divine creator within Kulin Nation mythology.
    Referencing Kohei Nawa’s ‘PixCell-Red Deer’ (a recent NGV acquisition) reflective Christmas decorations and bubbles floating on the surface of water, this structure is created from a field of industrial strength reflective balloons in four sizes from 400mm to 3200mm diameter (readily available from www.alibaba.com). This facilitates formal complexity from the repetition of many simple reflective objects to form a manageable conglomerate whole.
    The primary structural principle is that, made of helium filled balloons, the entire pavilion is lighter than the air it displaces. It inverts the requirement to hold itself up, instead being tethered by an array of tension wires, with weighted bases resting gently on the courtyard surface. Arranged in a diagonal grid, the spheres are joined where they touch with circular, adhesive patch pads into a continuous integrated whole. The array of tension wires articulate a spatial field which is modulated by the downward projection of the spherical volumes above. As individuals negotiate light, shade, spatial containment and proximity to others, the space was to be occupied in an ever changing way by the subtle dynamics of group behaviour.

     

  • Design Specifications

    Core deliverables

    • Pavilion
    • Furniture
    • Custom lighting

    Services Provided

    • Concept Design

    Architect

    Workshop Architecture

    People

    Project Team: Simon Whibley, James Staughton, Piran Reitze, Georgia Eade
    Photographer: Workshop Architecture

    Client

    National Gallery of Victoria

    Date completed

    February 2016

    Location

    St Kilda Road, Melbourne

Related projects

				
Sorrento Visitor Centre

A combination of urban design, sculpture and architecture creating new spaces for the public life of Sorrento.

View project

Mount Macedon Primary School

Wrapping indoor and outdoor learning spaces around an existing art and music room, a tight budget is cleverly used to provide a new STEAM facility.

View project

Pomonal Community Hall

Expressing a moment of change in the town of Pomonal – from the memory of the existing hall to a contemporary place for the community.

View project


Art Space, Casey

A fragment made from fragments: exhibiting art within libraries using on the idea of a distributed gallery, made from a kit of parts.

View project

Community Care Home

A residential care facility a range of disenfranchised and vulnerable people.

View project

NGV External Lighting

A comprehensive external lighting strategy for NGV in St Kilda Road which integrates several components into the heritage fabric of the iconic existing building.

View project


Come Closer: A Meeting Pavilion, RMIT

A circle around a fire remembered as a brass table top, a surface gathering the marks of all who sit there.

View project

Hampton Park Ambulance Station

Conceived as a house with a super-sized garage, this building is clad in emergency services livery including the iconic red-cross.

View project

Eaglehawk Bowling Club Canopies

Drawing upon the existing clubroom structure, the screen wall and green canopies curve together as an integrated, civic-scale street edge.

View project